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2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Review & Test Drive

posted by Harvey Schwartz  
Filed under Automotive, Hybrid, Lexus, Test Drives

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Right Wide Done Small

The all-new 2013 Lexus GS450h hybrid luxury sport sedan is refined and improved in every way.  It now combines new bold and aggressive styling, a total system horsepower rating of 338, a wider track and redesigned suspension for better, more precise handling plus a spacious interior with the latest in comfort, luxury, convenience, infotainment, connectivity and safety systems.  In its mid-size segment, there is nothing else like it.  After my seven-day test drive this GS450h is one of the few vehicles that I wish I didn’t have to give up.

The Lexus Hybrid Drive system features an ultra-smooth running, next generation D-45 direct and port fuel injection system with an Atkinson cycle 3.5 liter V6 engine mated to a compact, high-output, water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor powered by a high-performance nickel-metal hydride battery pack.  The two powerplants drive the rear wheels both independently and in tandem, as needed.  Fuel consumption is improved by more than 25% versus the previous generation with EPA estimated 29mpg/city, 34mpg/highway.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Engine Done Small

Besides high fuel mileage indicated, the new GS450h is so much fun to drive with five driving modes, including SNOW mode, through the high-tech CVT transmission, including paddle shifters on the steering wheel for even more spirited driving times.

Each mode can be operated by toggling the new Lexus Drive Mode Selector dial located on the center console.  The ECO mode revises throttle mapping, seat heating and climate control systems for better fuel economy.  In ECO mode the instrument cluster lighting changes to blue.  In EV mode you can drive short distances using only the electric motors.  In SPORT S mode it revises throttle mapping and transmission shifting priorities to fully exploit the capabilities of the powertrain.  In Sport S mode instrument cluster lighting changes to red.  In SPORT S+ mode the handling is enhanced via a sport setting of the adaptive variable suspension, steering system and Vehicle Dynamic Integration Management (VDIM) together with the powertrain enhancements of SPORT S mode.  In SPORT+ mode, the all-new GS450h can accelerate to 60mph from a standstill in just 5.6sec.  That is truly amazing for a vehicle weighing 4,190 pounds.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Side Done Small

This high-tech powertrain is certified as a Super-Ultra Low Emission Vehicle which has lower emissions than clean diesel engines.   It also features a lightweight timing chain to eradicate engine noise, vibration and friction; a new system regenerating braking operating range that has been expanded to help further improvements in fuel efficiency; a new stacked battery configuration that maximizes luggage space allowing for more cargo room than last year’s model; improved fuel consumption through a high-compression ratio of 13:1, a new mid-port intake tumble generator and the adoption of a Lexus four-stroke, direct injection technology-D-45- with one injector installed in the combustion chamber and a second mounted in the intake port, D-45 combines the strengths of both direct and port injection, realizing optimum engine efficiency throughout the power band and improving torque across the rev range, while minimizing fuel consumption and emissions; the D-45 system features a new split-type injector nozzles with a modified port shape, a higher fuel pressure for more efficient combustion, and idle port injection for improved NVH; the cooling performance of the hybrid system’s Power Control Unit (PCU) helps reduce fuel consumption and has been improved through the adoption of dual cooling paths and a single-piece, integrated DC/DC converter.  Finally the PCU boosts motor drive voltage to a maximum 650V in Sport mode and limits it to a maximum of 500V in Eco mode under normal driving conditions where maximum output is not required.  The motor is driven at lower voltage to provide a more environmentally advanced driving performance to further help enhance mpg.  This system including the electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission with Intelligence makes the total powertrain system one of the world’s most advanced for luxury sedans.  The evidence is plain as I received 31.8mpg while driving on slow city streets and keeping up with fast traveling highway traffic during my seven day test drive.  That number is amazing considering that the GS450h is a true midsize luxury sport sedan.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Rear Done Small

Engineers created a more rigid new platform by increasing the amount of high-tensile strength steel and increasing the number of spot welds and adding laser welds in very specific location.  The track, wider by almost two inches, works in combination with a revised fully independent suspension design to help ensure a more solid stance and superior cornering performance as well as a smooth ride over poorly paved surfaces.  Up front is a double-wishbone setup with coil springs, adaptive variable gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar.  The rear is multi-link with coil springs, adaptive variable gas-charged shocks, and a stabilizer bar.  Front and rear aluminum control arms also help in reducing unsprung weight resulting in significant improvements in agility, roll damping, ride comfort, body control and steering precision.  This new GS450h goes where I point it to go with ease.  I had no problem attaching cloverleaf highway entrances at speeds over 50mph with no oversteer or understeer.  The electric vehicle speed sensing rack & pinion system with electric power assist is right on with quick response to my inputs and great feel for the road plus terrific on-center feel and rock solid stability when cruising at fast highway speeds.

The new GS450h’s electronically controlled braking system’s characteristics have been modified to provide great responsiveness when you first touch the pedal.  It is very linear when pressing hard or softly coming to a stop.  Up front are 13.1 inch vented rotors and 12.2 inch vented rotors in the rear.   Each rotor is clamped with four-piston calipers for true sports car stopping power.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Beauty Headon Done Small

The standard Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) anticipates loss of vehicle control and governs all of the vehicle’s dynamic handling systems-the ABS, BA, EBD, Vehicle Stability Control, and Traction Control with the electronic throttle control system.  VDIM employs these systems collectively and seamlessly to help make corrections while allowing higher dynamic capability.  The system also provides a limited slip differential effect to get all of the power and torque to the pavement.

My fully loaded all-new GS450h sedan rode on optional 18X8 inch lightweight aluminum wheels wrapped with 235/45R18 inch Dunlop SP Sport high- performance tires for excellent grip and a smooth, quiet ride.

Looks that thrill is the motto of the all-new 2013 GS450h seen from any angle.  The signature spindle grille with its trapezoidal contours fully integrates into the aggressive front bumper and lower spoiler to enhance efficient airflow.  Deep set high-tech adaptive HID headlamps with projector beam design and L-shaped LED running lamps further express the car’s dynamic character.  Exclusive to the hybrid is an optional three-lamp design that combines high and low beam LED lamps and turn signals in a single horizontal row.  The lower bumper houses another wide-mouth air-intake,  and at the sides are air intakes to cool the front brake rotors and projector-beam foglamps.  From the side you see steeply raked windshield A-pillars, flared fenders, a full-perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse, body-color pull-out door handles, aero-styled remote, heated, self-dimming sideview mirrors, uniquely sculpted lower side extensions with a Hybrid graphic, and a tapered roof that quickly runs down to the short rear trunk lid.  The rearview shows large, wraparound LED lamp clusters with a tasteful chrome strip that connects each side together, a lip spoiler at the end of the trunk lid, a bold bumper with a black contrasted lower bumper with stabilizing fins and concealed dual exhaust tips for a clean hybrid look.  The Lexus signature blue hybrid badge gives the rear a unique, sporty and luxury look.  This all-new GS450h cuts through the air with an incredible low 0.26 co-efficient of drag.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Dashboard Done Small

Only a few midsize luxury sport sedans come close to the new interior of the GS450h.  It has it all to keep any sport luxury consumer happy with an eye for saving money at the gas pump and helping the environment.  Each door opens wide to reveal a spacious, comfortable, luxurious, convenient and safe cabin.  The leather-trimmed front bucket seats are incredible with optional 18-way power adjustments for you and your front passenger.  They have been improved for the driver’s position for increased comfort, better forward visibility and overall command of the road by redesigning the seat frame and changing the power-tilt-telescopic steering column angle from 23 to 21-degrees.  Besides being surrounded by stitched leather on the dash top, and aluminum trim pieces, new bamboo wood trim is seen on the leather-wrapped/heated steering wheel, dashboard, center console and door trim.  Also new this year is a new energy-saving auto climate control system, called S-Flow, it uses the occupant-detection system to focus airflow only to the front area where passengers are actually seating-a first-in-class technology.  Furthermore, the front seats are heated and ventilated and the rear seating is heated with a fold-down center console/dual-cupholder/armrest that contains the controls for the rear climate system.  You and your and your front passenger will enjoy the clean appearance of the new, high-resolution split-screen central control display with the optional navigation system.  A new analog clock with LED indicators, carved from a single ingot of aluminum gives a smooth, consistent look, adding a unique touch, at once both modern and traditional.  Also coming standard in the GS450h is water-repellent front door glass and high capacity heater, Smart Access Keyless Entry, push button start/stop, power tilt/slide one-touch moonroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, smog sensor/air filter, white LED ambient lighting, rear power sunshade with manual side window sunshades, power windows with all express up/down and power door locks, Lexus personalization settings, Lexus Homelink universal transceiver, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, grab handles above each door, remote trunk/fuel door releases, rain-sensing wipers, backup monitor, radar controlled cruise-control, cargo light and carpeted floor mats.  Options included in my loaded GS450h test model included the Luxury Package with its incredible Night Vision System, three-zone automatic climate control, Lexus Memory System for three drivers, the awesome Mark Levinson premium Surround Sound system with 17-speakers, 835-watts with 7.1 channel architecture digital amplifier and GreenEdge Speaker technology with Bluetooth, USB audio plug, MP3 files, CDs HDD Navigation with a 12.3 inch high-resolution split screen multimedia display & Lexus Enform with Destination & eDestination, App Suite, Sirius Satellite Radio, NavWeather/NavTraffic/Sports/Stocks, Intuitive Parking Assist, Pre-Collision System, trunk mat, cargo net, and a First Aid kit.  I really enjoyed the optional ‘head’s-up’ display that shows your speed, tachometer, radio station and volume so you never have to take your eyes off the road.

2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid Rear Seats Done Small

What more can Lexus add to make this all-new Lexus GS450hp one of the most complete luxury interiors?  I’m out of words.

The safety systems to protect you and passengers in the event of an impact are truly world-class.  These include the Night Vision System that appears on the center split screen in black & white, front/rear parking sensors, Blind Spot Metering with Cross Traffic Alert, dual front airbags, front/rear side impact airbags, front/rear side curtain airbags, driver/front passenger knee airbags, 3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, whiplash injury lessening front seats, LED daytime running lamps, Lexus Enform with SafetyConnect automatic collision notification, LATCH system for child seats, tire pressuring monitoring system, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.

Lexus has done it again with the all-new 2013 GS450h luxury hybrid sport sedan.  This loaded version that I tested gave me all of the performance, comfort, luxury, infotainment, and safety that I could ever want in a midsize luxury sport sedan.

COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: $58,950.00/$73,539.00 as tested
  • Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
  • Total length: 190.7 inches
  • Total width: 72.4 inches
  • Total height: 57.3 inches
  • Track: f/r-62/62.6 inches
  • Ground clearance: 5.5 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-38/37.8 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-42.3/36.3 inches
  • EPA cargo volume: 13.2 cu.ft.
  • Fuel tank: 17.4 gallons
  • EPA fuel economy: 20/34/31-city/highway/combined

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